Getting a second goal is becoming a thing for the Chicago Fire.
A thing they aren't getting.
The Fire pushed for a go-ahead second goal against Portland on Saturday, but it never came. The team's inability to find a second goal, something the team hasn't scored since the season opener, meant they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against the Timbers.
In a lot of ways, the Fire played better. They outshot Portland 17-8, 6-2 in shots on target, and in the second half had rare extended stretches of possession. But they were still not able to break a halftime deadlock.
"It was just that we didn’t score that second goal, which was very important for us," coach Veljko Paunovic said. "We are building the momentum. We were close to winning this game today and we are happy with the performance.”
The Fire (2-5-5, 11 points) are now 2-2-3 in seven home matches.
Portland (4-6-4, 16 points) took the lead in the 18th minute when Diego Valeri took advantage of a poor Rodrigo Ramos clearance. Ramos' ball got caught up in the wind and stayed near the box. Valeri won the ball back and beat Sean Johnson from a tight angle, sliding a shot just inside the far post.
Almost immediately the Fire leveled the match through David Accam. Accam, making his first home start since the season opener, redirected a Kennedy Igboananike centering pass to tie things back up.
“I know when he goes wide I need to be in the box," Accam said. "I know he has a good left foot also to put that ball in the box so I was in the right position when the ball came in.”
It was Accam's third goal of the season and his first since March 11. Accam and Igboananike created most of the dangerous chances for the Fire, linking up regularly other than the goal.
Another forward who could have joined the attack, Gilberto, was out for personal reasons. The Brazilian had played his best of the year last week.
The Fire had a strong wind at their backs in the second half and used it to keep the ball in Portland's half and extend the lead in shots they took into halftime. Despite being unable to get the win at home, multiple players claimed they are seeing progress in the team's performances.
"I think we’re finally putting full 90s together as a team," midfielder Matt Polster said. "I think during the beginning of the season we were getting used to each other. I think we put in good 65, 70 minutes of a game. As we’re growing as a team now I think we’re putting a full 90 together.”
Now the Fire go on break for the Copa America. The team will not train next week other than a fitness plan given to the players. The next match will be in the US Open Cup on June 15 with both location and opponent to be determined on June 1.
The next MLS match is June 18 at Philadelphia and the next MLS home match will be July 1 against San Jose.